Questions About Illinois Supreme Court Justice and Property Exemption - NBC Chicago
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Questions About Illinois Supreme Court Justice and Property Exemption

The property lists Judge Neville's mother as the owner, but she died 28 years ago

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    Questions About Illinois Judge and Tax Exemption

    An Illinois Supreme Court Justice has received a homeowners exemption on a home where he doesn’t live, NBC 5 Investigates found. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 12, 2019)

    An Illinois Supreme Court Justice has received a homeowners exemption on a home where he doesn’t live, NBC 5 Investigates found.

    The property lists his mother as the owner, but she died 28 years ago. Judge Scott Neville will soon be asking party bosses to slate him as “the” endorsed candidate.

    Judge Neville has been receiving a homeowners exemption for more than 15 years, and the rules state you must live in the home to get that tax break. Judge Neville was sworn in as an Illinois Supreme Court Justice last summer.

    He recently launched a campaign for a full 10-year term. In April, he filed his D-1 campaign papers with his address in the Beverly neighborhood, where he lives.

    His wife is listed as the owner of the home.

    In June, Judge Neville loaned his campaign $50,000 and listed a different address in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The home in that neighborhood has a building permit in the window.

    There was no construction underway on the home when NBC 5 Investigates stopped by recently.

    Justice Neville’s mother, Alice Neville, has requested a homeowner’s exemption on the home since 1999. However, Alice died in 1991.

    The judge received ownership of the home from his siblings in a quitclaim deed in 2004. As recently as 2018, the tax bill, and homeowners exemption of more than $726 was granted to Alice Neville.

    A spokesman for the Cook County Assessor told NBC 5 Investigates the property has been receiving a homeowners exemption that it was not entitled to.

    A rule stated that if the property owner dies, the homeowners exemption must be removed by the following year. It does not transfer to other family members.

    Records showed the tax break has been requested since 2000. In fact, in 2009, the home’s assessed valuation was requested again with Alice Neville as the applicant. By then she had been dead for 18 years.

    Neville is the only African American on the Illinois Supreme Court. He has received backing from key Democratic Party leaders like Toni Preckwinkle and many others.

    Another candidate, Appeals Court Judge Nathaniel Howse, has been endorsed by Jesse White and Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

    A campaign spokeswoman for Judge Neville told NBC 5 Investigates that his address is in Beverly, not the home where he has received a homeowners exemption.

    She added “the Justice is unaware of this issue and does not recall applying for an exemption on any property. This is an error and since being notified of this error we are looking into this matter."

    NBC 5 Investigates also reached out to Justice Neville's siblings and have not heard back.

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